Tuesday, April 19, 2016

On the Floor

For two years now I've been stitching and sewing, drawing and fooling around with paint. My goal was to develop a studio practice that was disciplined enough to work when I said I would. I used Karen Ruane's classes as a means to develop the discipline. Keeping up with her videos and the flicker groups helped me to stay honest.

This winter I have had this underlying anxiety "what's going on here" sort of thing. I have produced tons! of stuff and once finished tucked it away. Finally, curiosity drove me to pull out all my bits and pieces to consider.

My best considering method is to have everything on the floor and to walk among it all. Literally. Everything was laid out on the floor higgildy piggildy and I spent the morning looking and considering. I had to consider what I would consider about as well. Eventually, patterns began to emerge. So did some gut reactions. So did some decisions. And so did the conniption pile.

I hadn't planned to make thing that belonged together in a set, but that happened. The larger piece is two pillowcases cut open, reattached and overlayed. The two smaller pieces have the same treatment but are simpler. I have a blue cross-stitched chicken that might need to join this gang.

This pair were a trio at one point, but I was convinced to lay the lace piece over a very colourful piece. A lace veil has joined this pair. I am super unhappy with the blue piece. It works on many levels but technically it is the worst of all. This group will go on a vacation to the bottom of the pile and once it floats to top again, I will decide if I have the interest in redoing the blue or coming up with another response.

I also realized I had an aversion to a few pieces. One set is lovely to look at but leaves me cold. No reaction to them beyond meh. I'm not sure what it is about lovely that bores me silly.

I think they might be too orderly. Yet if the same fabrics, stitching treatments and construction orderliness were on a garment, such as a 1930's evening gown, I would adore it. Maybe there isn't enough romance in a small wall hanging? Maybe I have a lack of imagination, extrapolating out an exquisite gown out of an 18" square? This group went back into the box and I felt not a wrench, nor a pang.

The conniption pile eventually gave way to two piles. Those that I loved enough to continue working with and those that no longer interested me. The pile that no longer interested me was comprised of items that I had begun because the rhetoric is that an artist works in themes or sets or series. I like a series of three but only if it really makes a good unit. If I have to really squeeze my brain to figure out three treatments or find enough materials to make a set, then I'm working from my head instead of my heart. Head out...heart in.

The conniption pile that stays is comprised of work that still has intrigue for me. This small pile turns out to be a pile of pieces that are singles.


They don't have partners or groups. They work against the bulk of my work as 'punctuation marks.' Steve came up with that idea. If a piece stands on its own then that can be enough. A set of Ones.

The final group is the Squish group. I started this several summers ago, when I took a rolling pin and squished different flower petals between fabric and some colour came out.

I have since stitched on one of those pieces and love it. Right now I have a set using forsythia, a blue flower and grass and another set using hydrangea petals and rosehips. I am looking forward to a summer of more opportunistic squishing, then a winter of stitching.My short term goal is to photograph the good stuff and pull a small portfolio together. Power-up the lights.

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